Mobility Italy

The students and teachers coming from Portugal, Poland, Romania, Great Britain and Finland were hosted by their Italian partners of Istituto Statale d’Istruzione Superiore “E. Mattei”, Fiorenzuola d’Arda (PC) from 7th to 11th November 2016. 
During the week they had the opportunity to take part in a series of activities which were aimed at pursuing the objectives of the project, i.e. raising awareness of the cultural and geographical heritage of the local area, getting to know the products’ features related to the natural environment of the region, becoming acquainted with the local range of industrial, commercial and handicraft associations and developing the ability to think critically, take initiative, solve problems and work collaboratively through creative entrepreneurship workshops. In particular, they learnt how to take advantage of the opportunities offered by their homeland, develop their own business ideas, create a business plan, look for the help and assistance of the local institutions which support the creation of new businesses.
The opening ceremony took place on 7th November; students and teachers were welcomed by the headteacher of the hosting school, Ms Rita Montesissa together with the teacher who is in charge of the project, Ms Claudia Pavesi, the deputy headteacher, Mr Gianni Montani, the president of the schoolboard, Ms Cristina Crosatti, the mayor of Fiorenzuola, Mr Romeo Gandolfi, the town councillor in charge of education, Ms Paola Pizzelli and the headteacher of the local junior secondary school, Mr Mario Magnelli. The ceremony was attended by the classes involved in the project, which are 3^B, 4^A, 4^B, 5^A and 5^B of Istituto Tecnico Economico (age 16-19). 

Ms Montesissa started the activities by introducing a motivational video about creativity and entrepreneurship.

 After that, Ms Pavesi further developed the topic of entrepreneurship by giving a short lecture on Giuseppe Verdi, the world-famous opera composer who was born and lived just 15 kilometres far from Fiorenzuola. Few people know that the man who wrote such amazing operas like Nabucco and Rigoletto, was not only a musical genius but also a “startupper”, a passionate agricultural entrepreneur who believed his homeland had a great potential; after becoming famous and rich, Verdi decided to invest all the money he earned in agricultural land and farms to produce the local products (wheat, sweetcorn, milk and dairy products) by using the latest technology. The lecture was followed by the presentation of the video “Giuseppe Verdi: the musical genius and the farmer”, which was produced by the students of Mattei to shed light on Verdi’s hidden entrepreneurial talent and presented at Milano Expo 2015 to promote the territory worldwide.

The opening ceremony was accompanied by some songs performed by the Italian student Elisa Visigalli.

At the end of the ceremony the Italian students accompanied their guests in a school tour during which they provided information about the Italian school system, the subjects they study, timetables, extracurricular activities, final examinations and working opportunities. A game-based learning activity (Kahoot-game in groups) was carried out at the end of the activity to verify the levels of students’ understanding and participation.
In the afternoon students and teachers learned more about How to use the latest technology to keep up with the times by meeting Elena Caminati, a young startupper who decided to found the local WebTV Zerocinque23 after the closing down of TV channel she worked for. She explained the risks and difficulties she had to face at the beginning of her experience and highlighted the advantages of working on her own and using new technologies. Students asked questions about her job and the strategies she employs to stay competitive; finally, she showed how she works every day by recording two video-interviews held by two Italian students of the school magazine with an English student and teacher. 

On 8th November, the group started discovering the historical, cultural and economic features of the region with a walk around Fiorenzuola which was guided by the Italian students; they visited the main streets, which are marked by the presence of small food and clothes shops, the Cathedral, the Church of Saint Francis and the local theatre “Giuseppe Verdi”, where a short opera recital was held. This walk helped the visitors understand that food and music play a fundamental role in the local economy and the promotion of the territory.

Teatro Giuseppe Verdi - Fiorenzuola d'Arda

Collegiata S. Fiorenzo - Fiorenzuola d'Arda

Back to school, the students were involved in the project activity named Our smart ideas for a better life!, with the presentation and discussion of the business ideas they had invented and developed in their home countries. Each country explained their business ideas by using drawings and ppt presentations or staging mock commercials; students asked questions and highlighted the advantages and disadvantages of their business ideas, which were later put to the vote; students chose PopSquared (UK), which came in 1st, WalkToPower (PT) (2nd) and Glasses for instant translation (RO) (3rd). Teachers chose Nail creator (PL).

Presentations of business ideas
The winning idea: Pop Squared, a cup and a popcorn bowl in one
In the afternoon students took part in the workshop How to build your own business model canvas: Luca Piccinno (Aster, Regione Emilia Romagna), who is an expert on startups, explained students what a business model canvas is and helped them use it to further develop the four business ideas they had chosen in the morning. Students worked in small groups on the canvas by focusing on the following aspects: key partners, value propositions, customer relationships, channels, customer segments, cost structure and revenue streams.

The day ended with a dinner at Auditorium Scalabrini where guests could taste local products and enjoy time together while playing some games organised by the Italian students.

Dinner at Scalabrini and games
On 9th November the group went to Piacenza. The activities started with a visit to Tecnopolo, which is part of the Emilia Romagna High Technology Network and provides expertise, tools and resources for the development of new enterprises. A specialist explained how Tecnopolo supports young startuppers with innovative ideas by giving them the opportunity to use their advanced machine tools to carry out experiments and tests on new materials and devices.

Tecnopolo - Piacenza
Later on, the group visited the Urban Hub, a public instittion which was founded by the town council of Piacenza to offer support, know-how and expertise to those young people who have a brilliant idea and want to start their own business. The staff of the Urban Hub explained how they help startuppers develop their ideas by offering specialised services such as training, legal/financial advice and technical support (business plan, design software and 3D printing). During the visit the winning idea of the project competition (PopSquared) was printed in the 3D Lab of the institution. The group also visited the FabLab by Politecnico di Milano, where an advanced set of 3D printers and plotters give university students the possibility to create 3D proptotypes of their projects.

Urban Hub - Piacenza
After that the group moved to TICE Learning Centre, which is an example of a successful Social Innovation startup. The business was founded by Francesca Cavallini, a young psychologist who wanted to develop new social services in favour of the local community. The cofounders explained in which areas they operate (disabilities, ADHD, specific learner disorders, developmental psychology, motivation and coaching) and how the centre, which is now very successful, has helped other psychologists open their own businesses in other parts of Italy, by offering specific training and know-how. While visiting the centre, the students also met a young woman who has just opened her own centre in Sicily.  

Tice Learning Centre
Lunchtime was spent at Eataly Piacenza; Eataly is the largest Italian marketplace in the world, comprising a variety of restaurants, food and beverage counters, bakery, retail items, and a cooking school. It was founded in 2007 by Oscar Farinetti who had the innovative idea of introducing a new way of distributing high quality agricultural products to demonstrate that high-quality products can be made available to everyone, easy to  find and at affordable prices. The students and teachers were divided into small groups to visit the store together with the staff who provided information on the mission and vision of the company, their key activities and organisation of the store. After lunch the group had a cultural walking tour around Piacenza with the Italian students as tourist guides. 

Eataly - Piacenza
The following day, 10th November, was devoted to the discovery of the food productions and cultural and historical background of the area; in the morning the group visited the local dairy of Agrinascente (Fidenza) where Parmigiano Reggiano is produced. The manager of the dairy showed the production process from the delivery of milk to the ripening of cheese.

Dairy Agrinascente - Fidenza
The trip continued in Parma where Polo Museale della Pilotta (Museo Archeologico, Teatro Farnese and Galleria Nazionale) and the most relevant monuments of the city centre were visited.  Detailed information about the historical, cultural, political and economic background of the area was provided. After lunch students were involved in a Selfie Treasure Hunt: in order to check if they had understood the topics that had been proposed in the morning, they were asked to walk around the city centre and take some photos together with those people and products that make Parma so famous in the world.

Pilotta - Parma

Piazza Garibaldi - Parma

On 11th November, after voting the best photos taken during the Selfie Treasure Hunt, students took part in some project activities; in order to revise what they had learnt during the week, they were given the task to solve an entrepreneurial crossword puzzle and some cryptograms with famous quotes about entrepreneurship. Finally, the filled in the evalution questionnaire. The exchange ended with the closing ceremony where students and teachers received the certificates of attendance.

Mobility of the Secondary School in Seia to Fiorenzuola d 'Arda - report

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